May 15, 2019: the day France lives on credit from nature.

France is living on nature's credit on 15 May 2019. What does this mean? What should be done to postpone this date of overshoot?

For years, the Global Footprint Network, in partnership with WWF, has been calculating the day of overshoot per country. This year, Europe has been living on credit with nature since May 10. France, for its part, has 5 extra days before this date.

What is the overshoot day?

The concept of the day of overshoot comes from the British Andrew Simms working for the New Economics Foundation, a partner of the Global Footprint Network in 2006 for the first global day of overshoot campaign.

The day of overshoot is the day on which humanity has consumed all of the world’s available natural resources. It also means that greenhouse gas emissions are greater than what our oceans and forests can absorb.

In other words, this date corresponds to the date when the ecological footprint of humanity, if it lived like the country in question, exceeds the biocapacity of the planet. And this year, the world will live on credit from nature from August 1, should be noted that in 1961, this date arrived on October 13.

Each country has a different date:
  • Luxembourg: February 16
  • USA: March 15
  • Russia: April 26
  • China: June 14
  • Mexico: August 17
  • Vietnam: October 8
  • Niger : December 25
Press Release June 2019 English - Earth Overshoot Day

If everyone lived like the French, today would be our day of overshoot. Today we would have already consumed all the natural resources that the Earth can renew in one year.
And to live a full year, we would need the equivalent of 2.73 Earth planets. Much more than the world, which consumes 1.7 Earth planets. Some are good students, like the Malagasy (0.53 planets), the Africans (0.7 planets) or the Indians (0.72 planets). Others are still far from it: the Americans (4.95 planets) or the Qataris (8.84 planets).

The overshoot day is not a fixed date

But the trend is negative since 1970. However, France has experienced a reversal this year: 10 days gained compared to 2018.
Other countries have also moved back their date, like the United Kingdom: from May 8, 2018 to May 17, 2019.

This may not seem like much, but it’s good news, which, along with greater environmental awareness than ever in 2019, gives us hope to continue on this path.

But what can we do to try to move this date back? The issue is complex, and solutions can take time and money. But there are also solutions at the individual level that are not or not very expensive. A glimmer of hope!

person holding pencil near laptop computer

What are the solutions to postpone this date?

There are various solutions. The first would be to reduce one’s own greenhouse gas emissions by changing one’s diet. It is also possible to change some habits, especially the consumption of single-use plastic.
Although there are many solutions, here are some of them:

Limit your consumption of meat and fish. Try to eat animal food once or twice a week at most. You can also do challenges like Meatless Monday.
Forget about plastic bags. One plastic bag emits 10g of CO2 per year. It is necessary and important to limit the use of plastic bags, which can easily pile up at home and end up in the trash or in the oceans.
Change your tools, utensils and everyday objects. There are more and more solutions to avoid polluting and also to save money. You can go to zero waste to limit your carbon impact related to all the plastic. You can choose to make your own household products. Switch to bulk shopping.

Reduce your energy consumption.

We consume a lot of electricity: the light, the heating, the wifi, the fridge, the washing machine,… . It is not always easy to turn off appliances like a fridge because it may be more complicated for the conservation of food. On the other hand, you never leave home without turning off a light? Do the same with your wifi, your connected cables and other devices that can be turned off without any consequences on your home. Turn down your heat when you leave in the morning and unplug your appliances. Your bill will go down and so will your emissions.

You can calculate your own footprint and how many planets you need on the Ecological Footprint Calculator.

You can see how many planets you need and when you will exceed them if everyone lives like you. This may help you to find ways to reduce your impact.

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